Figuring out how to start a career as a freelance writer can be quite daunting at first. Anybody with interest and dedication can become a freelance writer. However, this career is especially ideal if you are self-motivated and want to get more flexibility in your everyday life. When you freelance, you might find yourself creating all different types of written content from blog posts to instruction manuals, to advertisements, technical documents, short stories, scripts and more. If you’re thinking about starting a career as a freelance writer, then it’s important to understand what the job consists of. And how to get your freelance career off to the best start.
What a Freelance Writer Does
Freelance writers might produce various types of content for a range of clients across different industries. Some will specialize in a certain niche while others write in a range of different categories. Most of the time, the job is remote. So freelance writers will typically communicate with their clients via email, instant messaging, phone or video conferencing. Most will work remotely as independent contractors, although some work alongside other freelancers and full-time professionals.
Research the Industry
Before you get started as a freelance writer, it’s a good idea to find out everything that you can about the industry. Maybe you’ve already started doing that if you are reading this. Once you’ve found out more about the basics, it’s a good idea to find some established freelance writer portfolios and read their articles and biographies. Some writers will share helpful information with others about what it takes to become a freelance writer. Tips on how they manage their business, where they look for work, and how they decide their rates. You can also spend some time browsing freelance work opportunities on freelance writing job boards to get a better idea about what kind of work is available.
Get the Tools You Need
Before you can get started as a freelance writer, you will need to have the right tools. A laptop or desktop computer equipped with a writing program like Microsoft Word is the least you’ll need. Depending on the type of work you do, you might also find it helpful to download basic photo editing software as images are often included in your content. You may also find it useful to use task management software to help you stay on track with your work. The good news is that you don’t need a hugely powerful or top-end laptop to work. A standard, no-frills school laptop will usually be sufficient for the work since they’re designed for writing and doing online work.
Set Up a Portfolio
Once you have the right tools, it’s time to put together your portfolio. While it’s possible to find clients without one, having a website that showcases your work to potential clients and contact details will help you find more work. You can promote your portfolio on writing or freelance forums or set up social media accounts where you can share your latest work. LinkedIn is a good social network for professionals. But you can also find some good groups on Facebook, or engage with businesspeople on Twitter.
Develop Your Business Skills
A career as a freelance writer is a business, and to be successful you will need to work on your time management and organizational skills. To get started, it’s a good idea to come up with a daily work routine so you have a clear idea of how long you will be working on a project each day. Put together a system for keeping track of which projects are pending, which are in process, and which are completed. Along with this, it’s important that you keep track of sent and pending invoices, payments received, applications, client responses and pitches. Many freelance writers also set aside some time in the day to maintain a list of writing ideas. This ensures that they always have something to write about for their portfolio.
Improve Your Writing Skills
Even if you’re already a good writer, any successful freelance writer knows that there is always room for improvement and is constantly working to better themselves. Reading other people’s writing is a good place to start. This can teach you a lot about things like vocabulary, sentence construction and more. It’s a good idea to read things that are relevant to your professional niche. But don’t stop there – look up things that are outside of it as well, to broaden your horizons.
Decide on a Writing Niche
When you start a career as a freelance writer, you can take on many different types of writing styles including speech writing, business writing, newsletter writing, technical writing, video scriptwriting, journalism, copywriting and more. And when it comes to the topics that you can write about, the possibilities are endless. Some writers stick to one topic they are interested in and knowledgable about. At the same time, others write about a wide range of different topics. When you are just starting out, it’s a good idea to choose one or two topics that you are more interested in compared to others and focus on these first. Over time, as you become more established as a writer and are able to better manage your time, you can start expanding to cover more niches or topics.
If you want a flexible job where you can work from home? Maximize your earnings and work on a wide range of different projects? Then working as a freelance writer might be ideal for you.
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